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Beardie Herding Cont'd

           One of my favourite pictures of Diva in action

Jackie, Hugh and I plan to do our very best to keep up with the herding training of Diva, Nell, and any others which may come along to join us, as we feel this side of the Beardie's abilities has for too long been neglected in this country for some reason. In the 1990's almost every Beardie which came to Jackie's for testing showed some degree of natural herding ability: now we're seeing it more rarely, which is a disappointment.  It would be a tragic waste of the efforts of Mrs Willison and all the great breeders of the past if the Bearded Collie heritage was to wither away due to lack of interest.

                            Hugh Emerson working with 3-year old Nell

Unfortunately we cannot expect the serious sheep farmers or triallists to turn back to the Beardie, after years of working with the Border Collies.  The coat is much too great a handicap, having become somewhat excessive for the show ring, especially around the face and legs.  If these people mention working Beardies, closer inspection often reveals a different type of dog altogether.  I have included on this page a working Beardie of the type we see in our area (North Yorkshire) 

What we need to do is clear from our minds all we have learned about our dogs with reference to coat, breed type, construction etc and take a look at what is going on inside their  heads - sadly, sometimes, very little!  However appearances can be deceptive and at other times that doe-eyed little fluffball can take all of us by surprise.  I know that my Lulu, a reserved, almost timid, showdog and rather small and slight for a Beardie bitch, had quite a different side to her when presented with four acres, a bunch of lively sheep towering over her, and usually inclement weather conditions, showing an almost terrier-like lust to get on with the job at times.  Rosie Emerson, her training companion, was a Champion show dog, yet possessed a fanatical desire to work which completely belied her sweet feminine appearance.

Working Beardies watch out!  The show Beardies are rallying in North Yorkshire......to follow their progress please visit www.spanglefish.com/BeardedColliesforShepherding and www.spanglefish.com/HerdingBeardies

Artist's impression
Artist's impression
Thanks to the Emersons for this lovely picture of Rosie (Ch Charncroft Copper Rose) - one artist's impression of the Beardie at work
Rosie at work
Rosie at work
The real thing - Rosie in action. No time for lying around looking gorgeous, she's far too busy!
Hugh Emerson's current trainee Nell is a slate granddaughter of Rosie
Working Beardie
Working Beardie
Young "working Beardie" bitch spotted walking round at a local agricultural show. Note the length of leg compared with many modern "show Beardies"
KC Registered Beardie
KC Registered Beardie
Diva aged two in similar pose and showing similar balance. Diva is longer in the leg than many of the Beardies seen in the show ring today, I think she illustratrates what used to be called "the old-fashioned type"
Diva - learning about gates
Diva - learning about gates
As the gate is opened Diva swings anticlockwise ("away") to put herself at the back of the flock to push them through the gap
Ebony aged 7 months
Ebony aged 7 months
Linda Pierson's 7 month old bitch Ebony showing a natural ability to keep a nice distance while working with Carl Borgstrom - only her second time with sheep - a very impressive youngster
Diva - the
Diva - the "lift"
In the first of this series of photos, taken at our training session on 1st October, Diva moves smoothly along the gate of the barn to collect "her" sheep, who naturally do not want to leave their friends!
Diva - the
Diva - the "fetch"
Having peeled them away from their resting place, she sets off to bring them across the field, keeping a nice steady pace with them all unflustered and under control
The
The "drive"
Diva in action with a large flock driving on a nice straight line for a short distance
Diva - working trot
Diva - working trot
A lovely action photo of Diva at work showing her concentration on the sheep -Beardies don't "eye" them as Border Collies do but all the same it's clear she doesn't intend to let them give her the slip
Change of breed!
Change of breed!
Just for a change, and to see what it feels like, here's Liz having a little play with a seriously well-bred working Border Collie, owned by Jackie and bred by Derek Scrimgeour of the Killibrae kennels
The Beardie's ancestral work
The Beardie's ancestral work
Jackie working with Diva on a very practical exercise, the team quietly moving the sheep from one end of the paddock to the other. Historically the Beardie excelled as a drovers' dog, so this kind of work comes very naturally to them